King Cakes Return with New Old-School Style

Bakeries are opting for a classic French preparation of days past.

In the U.S., King Cakes are perhaps most recognizable by the style popularized in New Orleans in which a braided, ring-shaped yeast cake, slick with white icing, has been doused in purple, green and yellow crystallized sugar.

Because of FDA health code regulations, many American versions of the cake do not contain the surprise trinket either, as it is considered a choking hazard. Instead, the knickknack is often offered on the side or underneath.

But that may be changing.

A bevy of French bakeries in the U.S. are finding an increased demand for the traditional European version of the King Cake, a golden-brown disc made of buttery puff pastry and almond filling, known as a Galettes des Rois.

Some of these galettes are presented on cake stands with a paper crown on top. Others arrive in a paper bag sleeve for handheld enjoyment. Still others are baked with a single fava on the inside, as a substitute for the small toy.

While these King Cakes all look delicious, children (and adults) may be somewhat less excited to discover a surprise bean in their dessert.